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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  July 31, 2009 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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breaking news this hour on "andrea mitchell reports." nbc news confirms veteran
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senator, one-time presidential candidate chris dodd, already challenged by political problems in his re-election bid, is expected to announce within the hour that he has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. his office says he will have surgery during the august says and return to work after the break. and any minute, president obama will deliver remarks on the economy. this after the white house got a relatively good gdp report, showing that the recession may be winding down. jared bernstein, chief economist for vice president joe biden joining us. and the perils of the house as they leave for their august vacations. the congress members, led by henry waxman, says he has pulled together rebelling liberals and those blue dog democrats and hammered out a health care compromise. it's a different story in the senate. bipartisan negotiators says the finance committee needs more time, will not have a bill before they leave for their vacation a week from today.
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the house says before it leaves today, it will also transfer $2 billion from the stimulus package to the popular cash for clunkers program, which is so popular that after only six days, it was tapped out of money. good day. i'm andrea mitchell, live in washington. the economy shrank by only 1% last quarter, the second quarter. a smaller decline than experts had been expecting. to put today's commerce department report into some perspective, the gdp fell 6.4% in the first quarter. that was the steepest decline as adjusted for almost 30 years. joining us live from the white house, jared bernstein, chief economist for joe biden, the executive director for the white house task force on middle class recovery. thanks for joining us. good to see you again. you've got good numbers, so you're coming out to talk about it. the president will be coming out to talk about it. what does this tell you about the status of green shoots there on the white house lawn? >> i think from our perspective,
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these numbers are less bad more than they are good. we're absolutely moving in the right direction, and most importantly, this economy looks like it was headed off a cliff when we unlocked the door to the white house back in january. we were facing what now we can see was an even deeper recession with revised numbers than we previously thought. and our set of economic interventions have helped a great deal, and the president will certainly stress that, but we're nowhere near out of the woods. we're moving in exactly the right direction. we put the brakes on the deepest recession since the great depression. but until we see robust monthly job growth, mission not accomplished. >> i know you're also expecting that those job numbers are not going to be very good. employment costs rose by 1.8% in the past year. that is the smallest annual gain on record. when do you think the employment numbers will start turning?
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>> well, we don't have a crystal ball in terms of when we should expect to see net positive job growth, but one thing we can tell you, a couple of important indicators show that, for example, if you look at the first quarter of this year, employment was contracting at a rate of about 700,000 jobs per month. if you look at the second quarter of this year, the contraction was 250,000 fewer jobs per month. if you look at initial claims, they've been coming down a bit, off their peak. those are helpful indicators, but, again, less job losses, not the same as job gains. >> how much of a factor do you think health care is? certainly, our polling indicates it is, in the decline of the president's approval rating? 53% down. he's still got a majority of support, but certainly gone down dramatically since he's been campaigning for health care, and the numbers on health care, even less good. how do you retool the message,
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aside from beating up on the insurance companies, what's your option to try to persuade people that this medicine is good for them going down? >> i think what the president is doing is taking this message to american consumers, to folks who are dealing every day with the challenges of this health care system, with the fact that insurance premiums have risen three times faster than their wages. i think his message resonating intensely with the people that he talks to and i think it's fair to say he's an excellent carrier of that message. and once you get into the hurly burly of politics in this town, you're going to have people that are making all kinds of arguments targeted exactly at bringing poll numbers down. these are folks who are politically motivated. their goal is to attack the president, not to attack the health care problem. i think the president, by taking this to the american public, is doing exactly the right thing to get the traction we need to
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reform health care on behalf of the american people. >> in terms of his approval rating on even handling the economy, what the nbc news/"wall street journal" poll showed that 49% approved, 44% disapproved. those are not robust numbers, hardly robust. and we saw in north carolina, when he did the town hall meeting, he started out not on health care, but defending the way y'all handled the stimulus plan and the way you're handling the economy. clearly, you're seeing the same kinds of poll data, that you're not getting good enough marks for handling the economy. >> andrea, we can't watch every wiggle in the polls when it comes to handling the economy. we're talking to you today when we learned that the economy was contracting at over 6%. the deepest contraction in the past six months, in 15 years. now we know that in the last quarter, the economy contracted at negative 1%.
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that is not good enough for us. but rather than poll numbers, those are hard numbers that suggest our interventions are helping to stabilize a very tough recession. >> let me ask you about cash for clunkers. the house says that some time today, they'll try to transfer $2 billion from stimulus money over to cash for clunkers. and some are objecting to any of that money going for non-american cars, for foreign cars. what's your view of whether or not there should be a buy american provision in any of this? >> i think cash for clunkers has demonstrably been working really well. so i don't think there's any reason to go out there and change the rules. my understanding is that many of the sales have been american cars. i don't think we need to impose that restriction. >> and the white house supports, clearly supports, according to what robert gibbs today said,
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coming up with the money, somehow, as long as things are deficit neutral. >> from our perspective, andrea, this is a good problem. >> this is a high-class problem. >> high-class problem. >> one other thing i wanted to ask you about the reports from citigroup and merrill lynch of the bonuses. andrew cuomo, the attorney general in new york state, really objecting furiously to the $9 billion they were paying out in 2008, just as they were going down, they were about to ask for t.a.r.p. money, for also some bailouts, and they're paying these bonuses. isn't the american public right to be outraged? >> i think so. but i also think that these are specific cases that i can't say anything about on the specifics right now. what i will tell you is that because of that very phenomenon and that justified outrage that you just mentioned, we have a person in place in the treasury who's in charge of precisely this issue of executive
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compensation, putting steps in place to really push back on these very damaging excesses that we've seen so much of in the past few years. >> before i let you go, is one of the problems the way that the tax law is written, that if you're paid over a certain amount, you have to get the rest of your pay in bonuses -- forgive me, is there some million-dollar cap on smf these big wall street firms, where they deliberately take what would have been salary and put it in bonuses for tax reasons? >> you know, i don't really know that that's at the heart of the problem. i think the heart of the problem is a real absence of pay-for-performance. i think the thing that outrages so many americans is not the fact that people are making a lot of money, it's that people are -- >> it's that they're doing a lousy job. >> undeservedly. so i think that anything we can do to strengthen
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pay-for-performance and to realign those incentives just makes a lot of sense. in many ways, what we're really trying to do here is to help correct a market failure. to help this part of the financial market operate more efficiently, such that people are compensated for their performance, not for, basically, the kind of manipulations that went on in that space recently. >> jared bernstein, thank you so much. great to see you, have a great weekend. and speaking of the weekend, larry summers, director of the economic council will be david grego gregory's guest, exclusively, this sunday on "meet the press." check your local listings. and a senior u.s. military official in iraq says it is time to declare victory and go home, but a wave of deadly militant attacks is raising questions about iraq's stability and its future and its ability to defend itself. nbc's jim miklaszewski, our pentagon correspondent live now. jim, let's talk about this
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colonel and his report, because it is really stirring up a lot of comment here, and i assume, over there as well. >> well, you know, it took the pentagon quite by surprise. this memo came from colonel timothy reece, who serves as a u.s. military adviser to the baghdad and iraqi government and military. and in the memo, which he wrote weeks ago and passed on to his senior commanders, but it didn't become public until he posted part of it on a blog and it exploded on the internet. in this memo, reece says that many of the problems that existed six years ago with the iraqi military, the iraqi government, their inefficiencies, deficiencies, the corruption and the sectarian rivalries that are still simmering beneath the surface are not getting any better. so he questions whether, in fact, the u.s. military should stay there, in force, through
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the current timetable, which would take it all the way up to january 1st of 2012. he says the u.s. military is essentially going to be wasting its time and it should declare victory, as you said, and get out of there by august of next year. >> mick, one other things he said, since the signing of the agreement, it's been six years, we now smell bad to the iraqi nose. just briefly, what about general odierno, they are not in sync with this general's report? >> absolutely not. and people here at the pentagon will tell you, this is one colonel's opinion and it is not the opinion shared by the commanders. they say that the likes of general odierno, the top military commander in iraq, and even secretary gates, who was just there in iraq this week, say that there is, in fact, some progress being made, particularly politically, and in terms of the ability of the iraqi military to eventually
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defend itself, so they're pretty much dismissing this as the opinion of one colonel. although, as we said, they are still the long-held fears and concerns of the u.s. military going forward, as they prepare to withdraw. >> thanks, mick. of course today, more bombs, friday prayers, shiite mosques in baghdad, killing at least 28 worshippers and wounding more than 100 more. on the heels of president obama's so-calls beer summit last night, the discussion of race in america is putting the focus on the national urban league conference now in chicago. straight ahead, president mark mueller joins us. at 155 miles per hour, andy roddick has the fastest serve in the history of professional tennis. so i've come to this court to challenge his speed. ...on the internet. i'll be using the 3g at&t laptopconnect card.
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plp even as we have the first african-american president and an hispanic supreme court nominee for the first time, many minorities are without jobs, without homes, without health care. that's the message being delivered by the national urban league, and by its president, marc morial, during wednesday night's opening of this year's annual conference in chicago. marc morial joins me now, a former mayor of new orleans. great to see you, thank you so much. we know you're busy with your conference. thanks for taking the time to join us today. >> thanks for having me. >> let me ask you about the state of black america. you issued your report back in march, but you're there at your conference today. as you gather this week in new orleans, and we've had this huge eruption of, or, rather, in chicago, we've had this huge eruption about race in america. what is your take on where we stand in america today? >> well, america's made enormous
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progress. we need to congratulate ourselves on that, great progress has been made. but there's a distance to go. there's work to do. we're focusing here in chicago on solutions, and we just heard from vice president biden, who i think did a good job in calibrating and providing us with information about the president's economic plan and his stimulus objective. and how it's affected urban communities by protecting the jobs of police officers, firefighters, and teachers and by helping people, who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks. so we have work to do. we're in a deep recession that affects all americans, but hurts black americans even more. and we want to focus on how to pull the country out of this. >> one of the things that has come up during the whole confrontation and the argument over what happened to skip
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gates, sergeant crowley, the president injecting himself into it was whether or not white america understands black america. there seem to be completely different responses, depending on whether you're white or whether you're black to the whole issue of whether men of color, in particular, face certain challenges when they are confronted by or confront law enforcement officials. >> you know, andrea, i always have disliked generalizations. there's no one mind-set in white america and there's no one mind-set in black america. >> fair enough. >> but it is a fact that there is a strained relationship, there is profiling by police of african-american men that really affect the quality of life and is a issue that we have to move beyond. there's been a discussion about that in the last week. i hope that there's going to be
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a legislative response through the end to racial profiling act. but we need to be more open to dialogue about difficult issues in this country and maybe this week helps with some. others, whose minds may be closed, we can't do anything about them. but i think we can begin to talk about the difficult issues, because after all, the recession, for example, yes, it's affected all americans working in middle, i like to think of the recession that we're dealing with as a lavern recession. white-collar workers, blue-collar workers, and pink-color workers have been affected. so the challenges that affect us all, i think, is cha we really ought to be working towards confronting. >> i wanted to bring you your attention also to a continuing controversy among some parts of the country, which seems to indicate that there may well be
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a racial underlying cause behind this whole birther movement. if you look at some data assembled for the daily cause, admittedly, a liberal blog, but by a very well-known and well-regarded pollster. 58% of republicans either believe that president obama was not born in the united states or they have still some residual doubts about it. whereas almost all democrats believe that, in fact, he was born in the united states, and accept the proof of citizenship that has been supplied. and if you look at southerners, there's also more than 50% of southerners who have these doubts. how do you figure -- what is the underlying mention here among those who still see him as somehow foreign or different? >> it's highly irresponsible for any group to organize themselves about promoting a lie, a big,
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fat lie. and promoting the idea that the president is not a u.s. citizen is a big lie. and i think, sometimes, there are those who want to create wedges and divide us, and the suggestion that this is the case distracts us from the tough and difficult issues that the nation affects. i would be disappointed that anyone would somehow grab on to that as though it is a truth. it's a falsity and i hope that people will push back hard against those lies, especially when they're dined only to politically divide the nation. the president was, in fact, elected with a broad coalition. he's carried southern states, north carolina, florida, post notably, virginia. he carrieded states in every region, and i think that's a demonstration that there's a broad coalition of people in this country who are not going
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to be distracted, who are not going to fall prey to the promise of falsehoods and lies. and that's all it is, andrea, it's just a big lie that's designed to divide and distract. >> but do you think that, do you think, mr. mayor, that there is some fear on the part of some people in white america, as the nation moves more and more towards being of a majority of color, that this has created its own wedge issue, where people are really reacting out of anxieties, that they don't understand, maybe not even understanding their own racial motivations? >> there's a lot of truth to that statement, andrea, but i do think that we in the urban league, as an organization that's multiracial believe that the tragedy is when those of us who know that those things are not true or realistic don't push
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back, don't assert, don't argue the other side of the issue. and i think that we cannot be silent. if people are anxious us because of these changes, we've got to remember that this nation was always founded on a multiculture basis. it was imperfect. we had slavery, we denied women the right to act, but as we've evol evolved, there should be no reason why the ideals that this country was founded on, the promotion of justice, equal economic opportunity for all, should not be those things that we talk about and promote. i feel that we have to confront the profits of doom, gloom, and division in this country. and i think that there's so many people, of all backgrounds, races, if the south, in the north, in the east, in the west who don't necessarily agree with
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that. but if we're silent and if we allow those prophets of doom and gloom and division to have their way, we don't confront it, then certainly they're going to be able to prey on people's fears and anxieties and divide the country. we've got to work against that, and that's what we're doing here in chicago today, where there's a great cross section of people, talking about economic opportunity, talking about home ownership, talking about a combination of public policy and personal accountability that's needed to fix the challenges that our schools face and to help our children become good, accomplished students who graduate from high school, go on to college, and get good jobs. >> and we're expecting the president, by the way, to come out any moment to talk about cash for clunkers and the economy, more broadly. but let me also ask you, mr. mayor, about last night. you had the chance to be with joe biden today.
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they're going back -- he's coming back for this meeting in blair house with the whole white house staff and cabinet to talk about where they are at the six-month mark. they obviously have a little bit of recalibrating to do. but after last night, did he say anything about -- well, i think the president's about to walk in. so maybe we'll hear directly from the president. mr. mayor, thank you. >> i wanted to say a few words about the economic numbers that we received the this morning. the gross domestic product, or gdp, is the measure of our overall economic growth as a nation. this morning, the gdp revealed that the recession we faced when i took office was even deeper than anyone thought at the time. it told us how close we were to the edge. but the gdp also revealed that in the last few months, the economy has done measurably better than we had thought. better than expected. and as many economists will tell
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you, that part of the progress is directly attributable to the recovery act. this and other difficult, but important steps that we've taken over the last six months have helped us put the brakes on the recession. we took unprecedented action to stem the spread of foreclosures by keeping responsible homeowners to stay in their homes and pay their mornltgages. we helped revive the credit markets. and we enacted a credit act that put loans directly in the hands of small businesses and extended health insurance for those who lost their jobs, provided relief to struggling states to prevent layoffs and made investments that are putting people back to work, building bridges and roads, schools and hospitals. now, i realize that none of this is much comfort to those americans who are still out of work and struggling to make ends
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meet. and when we receive our monthly jobs report next week, it's likely to show that we're still continuing to lose far too many jobs. as far as i'm concerned, we won't have a recovery as long as we keep losing jobs. and i will not rest until every american, who wants a job, can find one. but history does show that you need to have economic growth before you have job growth. and today's gdp is an important sign that the economy is headed in the right direction and that business investments, which had been plummeting in the last several months, is showing signs of stabilizing. this means that, eventually, businesses will start growing and they'll start hiring again. and that's when it will truly feel like a recovery to the american people. this won't happen overnight. as i've said before, it took us many more months to fully dig ourselves out of a recession that we now know was even deeper
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than anyone thought. but i will continue to work every single day and take every step that's necessary to make sure that happens. i also intend to make sure that we don't return to an economy where our growth is based on inflated profits and maxed out credit cards, because that doesn't create a lot of jobs. we need a robust growth based on a highlying educated, well-trained workforce, health care costs that aren't dragging down businesses and families, and clean energy jobs and industries. that's where our future is. and that's where the jobs are. one of the steps we've taken to boost our economy is an initiative known as cash for clunkers. basically, this allows folks to trade in their older, less fuel-efficient cars for credits that go towards buying fewer, more -- newer, more fuel-efficient cars. this gives consumers a break, replaces dangerous carbon pollution and our dependence on foreign oil and strengthens the american auto industry.
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not more than a few weeks ago, there were skeptics who weren't sure that this cash for clunkers program would work. but i'm happy to report that it has succeeded well beyond our expectations and all expectations and we're already seeing a dramatic increase in showroom traffic at local car dealers. it's working so well that there are legitimate concerns that the funds in this program might soon be exhausted. so we're now working with congress on a bipartisan solution to ensure that the program can continue for everyone out there who is still looking to make a trade. i'm encouraged that republicans and democrats in the house are working to pass legislation today that would use some recovery act funding to keep this program going. funding that we would work to replace down the road. thanks to quick, bipartisan responses, we're doing everything possible to continue this program and to continue helping consumers and the auto industry contribute to our recovery. so i'm very pleased with the progress that's been made in the house today on the cash for
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clunkers program. i am guardedly optimistic about the direction that our economy is going, but we've got a lot more work to do. and i want to make sure that all the americans out there who are still struggling because they're out of work or not having enough work know that this administration will not rest until the movement that we're seeing on the business side starts translating into jobs for those people and their families. thank you very much, everybody. >> president obama saying that the economy, according to the gdp numbers for the second quarter, is doing measurably better than expected, but saying that he will not be happy until we see improvement on the unemployment front as well. joining us now from cnbc, ron insana. ron, let's talk about the broader economy and cash for clunkers. the president's right when he talks about the gdp number. how much comfort can he take in
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the way the recovery is beginning to -- beginning to take form, let's say, vis-a-vis, unemployment? >> andrea, i'm growing increasingly optimistic that things might be a little bit better than most people realize at the moment. and i have to pardon my casual dress today. if i'd known i was following the president, i might have put on a tie. >> no, it's casual friday. >> casual friday. look, the markets rallied almost 50% off the march 9th lows. we've seen continuing improvement in housing statistics, in a variety of different economic indicators, including jobless claims, which lead the unemployment reports by some weeks, if not months. and now we have gdp at a point where it's likely to turn positive in the third quarter. this cash for clunker deals, despite what the newspapers have said, it's been so successful, day actually ran out of money. it's not that the program didn't work, they're in the process now of appropriating more cash. this is a type of stimulus that actually works very quickly. and i think if the president
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applied this to withholding a tax holiday or applied it to extending the refundable tax credit toward buying a house and maybe even increasing it from $8,000 to $15,000, the economy, particularly the housing sector, might rev even further, even faster. >> ron, in fact, the house has now passed that, by 316-109, two members votes presented, so it's more than the two-thirds we need. this is from our own luke ru russert reporting from the hill, and we'll be talking to kelly o'donnell in a moment. but we saw today texas republican congressman, jeb hensarling, he's against it. he says, cash for clunkers is another example of the government picking winners and losers and enshrining us as bailout nation. >> i don't know. listen, there were former federal reserve officials that i spoke with many years ago that you might know of who have oftentimes talked about whether or not you let the free market work during a crisis or whether
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the government, including the federal reserve, step in. and the gentleman i talked to at the time said, listen, in theory, i believe that the free market should work, but in practice, letting something fail or letting an industry go is not a social experiment i'm willing to undertake. and we got to that point here, where the government had to step in and provide the stimulus. whether or not we're picking wirn winners and losers here, i think it's largely irrelevant. i'm more concerned about the unintended consequences of the climate change bill than i am getting people to buy cars with this program. >> and in fact, this could have some good impact on climate change. thank you, ron insana. >> thank you, andrea. >> and with all of this action on the hill, kelly o'donnell, our congressional correspondent. kelly, thanks so much. well, the house voted quickly. they certainly proved that when they see the public likes something, they can move really fast. this was in one day. >> reporter: it has been amazing to watch. and you really put this against the broader context of what have
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they been hearing lately? they, meaning members of congress. lots of worry about health care, lots of complaints over the stimulus package and questions about how effective that has been. so low and behold, they see a program, cash for clunkers, where the public has responded, where autodealers have been excited about new people walking on to their lots who weren't necessarily going to be in the car market, and this exploded beyond people's expectations. this program was intended to go from july to november with the limited money that had been funded, $1 billion. it was only available for about six days, less than a week, and according to sort of the calculations of all the dealerships across the country, the money would run out last night at midnight. so there was a lot of behind-the-scenes working, andrea. the department of transportation was letting people know here on capitol hill that the program would need to be shut down. that, of course, caused concern, especially for those who represent not only the automakers but certainly everybody's got a dealership in their district. and then there was working
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through the night with the white house and members of congress here to try to find a solution, and they have found $2 billion that they're able to move from one shell to another in the recovery money to try to keep this thing going. >> it's amazing, but at least from their perspective, they can go home and say, we've done something. not that we've failed on health care, we, at least, did this one thing that's popular. let's talk about chris dodd. we all know chris dodd well. we've seen him over the years. chairman of the banking committee, key member on health care, carrying the ball for teddy kennedy on health care, as his surrogate on the health committee, and senior member of foreign relations, former candidate for president, briefly, whose endorsement of barack obama was considered somewhat helpful. but now, completely challenged politically at home in connecticut. and today, the word that he is suffering from what has now been diagnosed as early-stage prostate cancer. will have surgery, we're told, in august. what does this mean for him,
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politically, because we're told by all the medical experts that there isn't a profound medical implication. this is something that can be dealt with and it often is dealt with very, very successfully. but politically, does this further endanger his political chances? >> well, there are many ironies in this, andrea, because chris dodd has been at the forefront of the health care negotiations, unknown to all of us, until today. he has his own health care issue to deal with. and while many other members will be going home and talking about the health care policy, he's going home, already in connecticut, preparing for surgery. now, he has been a huge presence here on capitol hill, stepping in for ted kennedy, who is dealing with his own cancer issue, and he has been really at the forefront of a lot of negotiations, but back home in connecticut, he has been in trouble in the polls. there have been voters there that have been very upset with him about allegations that he got a mortgage deal that was better than what ordinary citizens could get, a sweetheart
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deal, if you will. he has tried to fight that back and said he was unaware that he got anything that was extra or special, but that has eroded his credibility. he's been serving in congress since 1975. he's one of the fixtures here, but the mood in connecticut has changed over the last few years. you remember, joe lieberman, also had a lot of trouble in his re-election. so chris dodd does face a very tough re-election fight, and now has the added complications of an illness to deal with. we, of course, all wish him well in that. >> we certainly do. chris dodd, son of a senator, best friend of the senator teddy kennedy, who's going through his own trevails. thanks so much, kelly. still to come today, the political turmoil in iran. the government there, preparing to put dozens arrested during the post-election violence on trial. as president ahmadinejad prepares to be sworn in for a second term on monday. the latest on the power struggle
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we are watching developments out of iran today, just a day after riot police cracked down on protesters who had gathered for a day of mourning. treeta parsy joins now from the hill. he's the author of "treacherous alliance: the dealings of iran, israel, and the united states." thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> it's a day after the protests, what is the state of the discontent against the regime? how much can we put on what we're seeing in the streets, and what we're seeing on social networking sites, in terms of whether ahmadinejad and the khamenei are really being challenged? >> i think the discontent is extremely widespread and we have to remember that the protests we see at the end of the day are
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just a drop in the sea when it comes to the level of this discontent. a lot of people are very unhappy, but that doesn't mean that they feel safe and secure and angry enough to go out and protest. the protests at the end of the day are a small indication of the very widespread discontinue that currently exists. and one thing we have to keep in mind, it's not necessarily bad times that have caused the people to express their anger in the way that they have right now, because the iranian people have been under a tremendous amount of pressure for the last 30 years. what's different this time around is that they were actually given hope. they were starting to believe that they had a chance to change their society for the better through the ballot box and then their hopes were dashed. that's why you see such an outpouring of anger and protests right now. >> ahmadinejad went on state television in an interview today and said that there is no real rift between him and the ayatollah khamenei, in fact,
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that was all exaggerated. are there any signs of rift, though, between the political regime and the military, the militia, and some of the other security forces? any crack in that armor? >> there are anecdotal indications that there is a lot of discontent, that there are soldiers or people that are not following the orders, that some of the riot police are not implementing the orders that they have been given, and even at some point have held back the basij. and part of the reason is is that there is a widespread sense that the government has completely delegitimateized itself through the perception that it was stolen. >> and of course, ahmadinejad, barring something that happens between now and then, will be sworn into a second term on monday. thank you very much. and what political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours? all that, and for the first time, we will be broadcasting live from africa next week as
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secretary of state hillary clinton embarks on her seven-nation trip to sub-saharan africa. don't miss it. this is "andrea mitchell reports," only on msnbc.
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so what political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours? margaret carlson, columnist with bloomberg news and editor of "the week." margaret, you want to get together for a beer? >> what's your choice? i'm going to go with bud lite. i don't think any of us pundits should choose a european beer. all-american beers. >> it's all buy america. on "the daily show" last night, jon stewart did their own spoof of the president's beer summit. let's watch. >> the gates thing. >> yeah, it's like -- no, really messed up.
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♪ come on man. it's a good holiday. you get presents, right? >> it's like eight days. it's like jewish kwanzaa. >> this is going to be the best comedy ever. a black cop, and a white cop. working it together. >> we had to clean it up somewhat, but you get the gist. >> let me yield the rest of my time to jon stewart. >> well, let's talk about what you wrote about it. you said that obama didn't get the tone right, there's more evidence, if any is needed, that a black man may be president, but he still remembers just being black. that condition renders you subject to be pulled over while driving, get soaked waiting for a cab, eyed suspiciously while shopping, or hassled just for walking down the street. >> well, it doesn't go away, apparently. because, as we know, obama doesn't make rookie mistakes. it's like larry byrd missing a free throw for obama to get an
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answer wrong. he's usually on top of things. and i think that the feeling of blacks about being misidentified or an assumption being made by policemen is so great, it doesn't go away, even when you are president. that's my theory of what happened at the press conference. he doesn't use words like "stupid." have you ever heard obama use a word like that? he's more likely to use both a softer word and a slightly more elevated word. i suggested, had he said "abs d "absurdly" instead of "stupidly," we might not have had the beer summit. >> and wouldn't have had this conversation. so all things being equal -- >> maybe it's good. as our mother said, andrea, everything works out for the best. >> indeed. always trust our mothers. and i'll meet you for that beer. thanks, margaret.
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and republicans call president obama's citizenship to question with the so-called birther movement gaining traction on capitol hill. why does this controversy still have legs? next on "andrea mitchell reports." ♪ too bad i didn't know my credit was whack ♪ ♪ 'cause now i'm driving off the lot in a used sub-compact. ♪ ♪ f-r-e-e, that spells free credit report dot com, baby. ♪ ♪ saw their ads on my tv ♪ thought about going but was too lazy ♪ ♪ now instead of looking fly and rollin' phat ♪ ♪ my legs are sticking to the vinyl ♪ ♪ and my posse's getting laughed at. ♪ ♪ f-r-e-e, that spells free- credit report dot com, baby. ♪ has the fastest hands boxing has ever seen. so i've come to this ring to see who's faster... on the internet. i'll be using the 3g at&t laptopconnect card. he won't. so i can browse the web faster, email business plans faster. all on the go. i'm bill kurtis and i'm faster than floyd mayweather.
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more than six months after president obama took the oath of office, so-called birthers are still questioning his status as a natural born citizen. the bill has 11 house cosponsors. let's bring in david bonior and susan molinari. what is going on with your party? let's talk about this poll, which is a very well done poll according to our political unit. eight in ten americans believe that president obama was in fact born in the united states, but among republicans, 58% either don't believe it or have questions about it.
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democrats, 93% are quite certain that he has a natural born citizen and qualified to be president of the united states. >> i don't know how to explain it. there are fringes. larger than a fringes. there's probably more democrats although not 58% who thought the 9/11 conspiracy theory. you know, i would -- >> david? >> party leadership -- party leadership, for people who represent the party, elected by republicans, acknowledge president obama as dually elected president of the united states. not conspiracy theorists.
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>> wasn't quite sure in one of the questions running for the senate. david, is this an underlying effort to undermine the president? >> i think so. >> to undermine his authority? >> i think it is. it's not being done by a lot of talk and media folks on the right, but it's being done by some of them and they have large audiences. people have questions on the right about the president as it is and this just plays into that. it's something that will go away. half the republicans don't believe it and the other half are confused, but we're all confused from time to time. >> something that's not confusing. you're both members of the house. it's like watching paint dry watching health care negotiated and now, cash for clungers,
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within one day of getting the information that the program was running out of money. >> obviously, it's not complicated compared to health care reform. we don't really know even with democrats in committees, what health care is going to look like. cash for, maybe we have to take a deep breath and say congress doesn't always have the best measurements to exact out what a program's going to cost. it ran out of money in a very short period of time so times, we do need to take our time. >> i know you support the program because you used to represent michigan. >> i sure do. it's a great program. it worked in europe. it's working here. it's something we need to get
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people back to work. >> thank you very much. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. have a great weekend and join us next week as we broadcast live from africa on hillary clinton's seven-nation tour of that continent. up next, a special "new york times" edition with john harwood and norah o'donnell as we await senator chris dodd's news conference. that's next on msnbc, the place for politics. tonight's dinner specials: teamwork... time together... real conversations... and memories. all for under $2 a serving. stouffer's. let's fix dinner. some pharmacies make you work for it with memberships and fees. but not walmart. they have hundreds of generic prescriptions for just $4 for up to a 30-day supply or $10 for 90 days. save money. live better. walmart.
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